About our genetic counseling services
Learning that you or a family member may have a genetic condition, disorder, disease or risk can feel overwhelming, and you probably have many questions. At Children’s Hospital Colorado, our genetic counselors guide and support you as you work through the information, conversations and decisions surrounding genetic conditions.
We offer comprehensive genetic counseling services with providers who specialize in specific conditions. Our highly trained genetic counselors work closely with you to tailor our care to your family’s health needs and goals.
What is a genetic counselor?
Genetic counselors are providers with advanced education and training in understanding genetic conditions and providing education and counseling. They teach you and your family about genetic conditions, options for genetic testing and how genetic conditions may affect your family.
Genetic counselors use health information from your child and your family’s medical history to assess individual and family risk of an inherited health condition. They help you decide whether genetic testing is right for your family and are there to interpret test results. After testing, your genetic counselor guides you through decisions about the next steps in your family’s care.
Our team includes medical geneticists, doctors with specialty training who order and interpret genetic tests, make genetic diagnoses, and provide medical treatment and management for people with genetic conditions. Our genetic counselors and medical geneticists work closely together to provide the care and education that your family needs.
Why choose us for genetic counseling care?
People come to us from across the region for our expertise and compassionate approach. Highlights of our genetic counseling services include:
- Children’s Colorado has more than 20 genetic counselors in various specialties, ensuring that your family receives care from an expert in your child’s condition.
- Our genetic counselors are board-certified and nationally and internationally recognized in their specialty.
- Our unique multidisciplinary clinics enable your family to meet with genetic counselors and other specialists in the same appointment. This approach allows for more comprehensive care with fewer appointments.
- Both in-person and telehealth options are available to meet your family’s specific needs.
- Children’s Colorado offers the most comprehensive, in-person, pediatric genetic counseling services in the Denver metro area. Our genetic counselors live and work here in our community, and we work with families throughout Colorado and in surrounding states.
- Genetic counselor support in the laboratory ensures that your family receives the most effective, affordable genetic testing.
Who do our genetic counselors care for?
Our genetic counselors work with children from before birth through infancy, childhood and young adulthood. We also continue to see some individuals throughout their adult years and provide genetic counseling for families after a family member has passed away.
People seek genetic counseling for many reasons. You may consider genetic counseling to learn more about your family’s risk for:
- Blood disorders, such as bleeding disorders, platelet defects, bone marrow failure and red blood cell disorders
- Chromosome disorders, such as Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome and Turner syndrome
- Congenital (present at birth) conditions
- Heart conditions, such as congenital heart diseases or arrhythmias
- Inherited metabolic diseases, such as phenylketonuria (PKU), lysosomal disorders and others based on an abnormal newborn screening
- Medical concerns that require your child to be admitted to the hospital
- Neurodevelopmental differences, such as developmental delays or autism spectrum disorder
- Neurological concerns, such as muscle weakness, movement disorders or developmental regression
- Prenatal concerns based on an abnormal ultrasound
If you decide to seek testing or need care for a genetic condition, our genetic counselors will connect you with the best medical provider to meet your needs.
Children’s Colorado clinics that offer genetic counseling
Genetic counselors at Children’s Colorado provide care in multidisciplinary clinics, such as:
What to expect during your genetic counseling visit
Depending on your family’s needs, you may meet with a genetic counselor alone or with a doctor. Or you may meet with a genetic counselor after seeing a doctor, such as a medical geneticist, cancer specialist or neurologist. The doctor determines whether your family member needs genetic testing, makes a genetic diagnosis, discusses treatment options and provides treatment for the disorder.
During your appointment at Children’s Colorado, your genetic counselor may:
- Discuss the reason for the visit and why you were referred
- Take a comprehensive family history, asking targeted questions about the medical histories of you and your family members
- Help you decide whether genetic testing is right for you and your family, based on your needs and values
- Help you select the best genetic testing for your family
- Review what test results mean for you and your family
- Help you decide on the next steps for you or your family after receiving genetic test results
- Answer remaining questions about genetic diagnoses, disease management and treatment options
- Assess the risk for other family members or future pregnancies and discuss available testing options and reproductive considerations
- Provide emotional support during an often challenging and confusing time
- Offer resources, including research opportunities and advocacy, if your family receives a genetic diagnosis
Contact a genetic counselor
Please ask your child’s doctor for a referral with detailed information about why they recommend genetic counseling and which department you need to see. You can make an appointment with a genetic counselor by calling a department directly:
If you’re unsure which department you need, please call our general genetics program at 303-724-2370 and ask for the genetic counselor on call.